In this concluding message for this series, Derek goes back briefly over all of the preceding steps to give us an overview of the twelve “let us” resolutions brought out of the epistle to the Hebrews. Let us determine to listen carefully so as to imprint these resolutions on your mind and make them a real part of your life from now on.
It’s good to be with you again as we draw near to the close of another week. I do trust that it’s been a good week for you and that you’ve been helped by the New Year resolutions from the epistle to the Hebrews that I’ve been sharing with you.
Now, let’s go back together over the twelve “let us” resolutions from Hebrews that we’ve been studying together these past three weeks. Let me remind you in this connection of a basic educational principle: review is an essential part of all successful teaching. I believe that this review that I’m going to go through with you today will help to imprint these resolutions on your mind and make them a real part of your life from now on so that this year that we’ve just entered will be a really successful and blessed year for you.
All right, here are the twelve “let us” resolutions from Hebrews:
(l) “Let us fear.”
“Therefore, let us fear, lest while a promise remains of entering his rest any of you should seem to have come short of it.”
That’s the attitude. It’s the attitude of reverent respect for God and His requirements. It’s not slave-ish fear, God has not given us that spirit of slave-ish fear. But it’s an attitude of reverence and respect for God and it’s the opposite of self-confidence and presumptuousness. Let’s lay aside all self-confidence and presumptuousness.
(2) The second “let us,” “Let us be diligent.” Hebrews 4:11:
“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”
“Let us fear” leads to “let us be diligent.” We’re not presumptuous, we’re not self-confident, we’re not negligent, we take things seriously; as it were, we roll up our spiritual sleeves and we go to work. I quoted two verses in this connection from Proverbs 10. One was, “The blessing of the Lord maketh rich”; the other was, “The hand of the diligent maketh rich.” We’ve got to put those two together to get the blessing of the Lord. It’s His blessing on one hand, but on the other hand it’s our diligence that receives His blessing.
(3) The third “let us,” “Let us hold fast the confession of our faith.”
“Since, then, we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
I pointed out that it’s our confession that relates us to Jesus as our High Priest. We have to say the right thing with our mouth. We have to make the words of our mouth agree with God’s written word; and every time we make the right confession, we say it out boldly in faith, Jesus is obligated by His eternal faithfulness to make sure that our confession is fulfilled. He’s the High Priest of our confession. We make it and then we have to hold it fast.
(4) “Let us draw near to the throne of grace.” Hebrews 4:16:
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We’re to come to the throne where Jesus sits as King, King of the universe, with all authority and power. He wants to help us, but we’ve got to be humble and acknowledge our need of help. We’re told to come for mercy and for grace, not for a due reward for our merits, but because we need Him and because He’s faithful. Because He invites us, therefore we can come with confidence, even in the time of need. Even when the situation’s desperate. Even when we think there is no source of help, there is help if we come to that throne of grace.
(5) “Let us press on to maturity.” Hebrews 6:1:
“Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.”
I pointed out that there is no room for remaining static in the Christian life. The Christian life is not a seat, it’s a path. “The path of the just is as the light of dawn which shines more and more till the full day.” So, if we’re in that way of righteousness and faith, we’ve got to be moving on, and our goal is maturity. It’s to be fully grown up. It’s to become complete men and women in Christ. And in that context, I pointed out the only alternative is very sad: it’s arrested development. It’s remaining forever spiritual infants, always tossed to and fro, never stable, never mature. So let’s press on together.
(6) “Let us draw near to the Most Holy Place.” Hebrews 10:19 and 22:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a sincere heart.”
We have to put those two verses together. When it says, “Let us draw near” in this context, it’s “Let us draw near to the Most Holy Place.” Earlier, we were exhorted to draw near to the throne of grace. That was to come for help. But now we’re invited to go right into the holy place, the place of God’s own immediate presence, the place where God sits on the throne. And we’re invited to share the throne with Him. Jesus is the forerunner. He’s gone before us. He is the new and living way. He died, He was buried, He rose again, and He was raised up into the glory of the Father. And as we’re identified with Him in each one of those successive experiences: death, burial, resurrection and ascension into glory, we find that we’ve come into the Most Holy Place. We are entitled to draw near to that holy place, to enter in. The scripture exhorts us to do it.
(7) The seventh resolution is, “Let us hold fast our confession without wavering.” Hebrews 10:23:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
This, of course, goes very closely together with the previous one, “Let us hold fast the confession of our faith,” but two very important words are added: “Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering.” Why do you think that “without wavering” is put in? Do you remember I asked you that? The answer is because there’ll be a lot of things that will come along that would make us inclined to waver. There will be a lot of pressure. There will be times of darkness. There will be times when everything seems to have gone wrong and it seems that things are not working out. What are you going to do then? Are you going to quit? Or are you going to hold fast without wavering? Make up your mind as you listen to me now that next time that happens you’ll not be a quitter, but you will hold fast without wavering, for He is faithful who promised. You may not see Him, you may not feel Him, He may seem to be far from the scene, but He’s still there and He’s still faithful.
(8) The eighth resolution, “Let us consider one another.” Hebrews 10:24:
“Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”
Let us consider one another, that’s the release from self- centeredness. I said that a self-centered person is never a happy person. They are never fully content, there’s always something missing in their lives, even though they may have everything that the world seems to offer. We can never find true peace and true inner rest as long as we are centered in ourselves. And so, one very practical remedy is to consider one another, to invest our lives in others, to provoke others to love and good deeds. I think one of the key Scriptures today is in Galatians 6, “By love, serve one another.” Put others first. Be more interested in them. You’ll get a wonderful response from them and you’ll get release from your own self-centeredness at the same time.
(9) The ninth resolution, “Let us run with endurance the race.” Hebrews 12:1:
“Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
The Christian life is like a race. It’s a course marked out ahead of us. There’s a goal and there’s a prize. But if we’re going to achieve the goal, if we’re going to win the prize, we’ve got to run the race with the right attitude. We’ve got to run it with endurance. We’ve got to hold out. To do that, we have to go into training.
(10) The tenth resolution, “Let us show gratitude.”
“Therefore, since we have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, that we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”
I explained the relationship between gratitude and grace. Having grace will always be expressed in being thankful. God expects us to appreciate what He does and to express our appreciation verbally.
(11) Resolution number 11, “Let us go out to Him outside the camp.”
“Therefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.”
That means identifying ourselves not just with Jesus, but with His cross; being willing to recognize that this world is not our home, that there is always a price to pay to be a Christian. We cannot lead the Christian life and reject the principles of the cross. The cross means death to self and death to the world.
(12) Finally, the twelfth resolution, “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15:
“Through Him let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”
Praise is the natural outcome of the previous eleven resolutions. It also sets the seal upon them and makes them sure.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time. I have another exciting theme in store for you.
Let me add a word about a special offer I am making this week. You’ll have noticed that each one of our twelve steps to a good year is taken from the epistle to the Hebrews. Hebrews also reveals the one great basic essential for taking these steps, it is faith. For this reason, I am offering this week my book, Faith To Live By. This book tells you what faith is, how it comes, what it will do for you.
Also, my complete series of messages this week on “Twelve Steps to a Good Year” is available in a single carefully edited, 60 minute cassette. Stay tuned for details.